Do soul-searching books help you find your path?
The weekend is a perfect time to sit down with your journal and an inspiring book. The grind of the workweek has quieted, and it’s probably safe to say that your body and soul could benefit from some rejuvenation and recentering. Frequently checking in and asking yourself the larger questions or doing writing exercises to reconnect with your desires are effective ways to make sure you’re traveling the path you want to travel. At the very least, a little soul-searching can help put you in a good spot to begin the next week in a positive place.
Since everyone introspects differently, not all of the following books may appeal to you, but, hopefully, there’s one on the list that gets your heart going.
- How Should a Person Be: A Novel from Life, Sheila Heti
By turns adored and loathed by its readers, How Should a Person Be is a unique novel-memoir hybrid. Heti discusses the mind-paralyzing turns of making a living as a writer and trying to justify, to herself and to the world, a life of art. Heti also explores the notion of celebrity and the perils of trying to adopt elements of other people’s personalities. Ultimately, the novel is a testament to modern friendship and how identity-forming it can be.
Read if you’re interested in stripping away artifice and facing your own rawness.
2. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait, edited by Carlos Fuentes
Frida Kahlo’s diary is an unusual book. The first half is Kahlo’s actual diary, and the second half is comprised of notes and the English translation of her entries. In the diary, we see the seeds of themes Kahlo pursued in her more formal art. We also get a glimpse of her struggle with her perception of her mental health and the shape of her love for her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo’s diary reminds us to take our creativity to the edges of convention and beyond.
Read if you’re a visual person with a penchant for art history and unique forms of self-expression.
3. Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles, Gabbie Bernstein
Burstein provides tools for working through fear—of all kinds—the fear of failure, the fear of others’ judgments, the fear of not measuring up to your own expectations. Bernstein details how mindfulness and meditation changed her life, bringing her out of a fog of addiction and unhappiness. Spirit Junkie offers advice for finding small ways to incorporate meditation into a busy life, regardless of how “spiritual” you identify yourself.
Read if you’re feeling scared of taking a new path or uncertain about your own awesome powers.
4. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg
Goldberg’s seminal creative writing text encourages readers to “burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness.” By turning off the “internal editor” as you write, Goldberg explains, you will uncover deeper thoughts. Goldberg’s version of a practice called “free writing” can be useful for both creative writers and people looking to writing for a kind of self-therapy. Her philosophy maintains that writing is only one part of being in the world: “Let the whole thing flower: the poem and the person writing the poem. And let us always be kind to this world.”
Read if you love writing and you’re looking for a way to dig deeper into your subconscious.
Finding Your Own North Star is a surprisingly useful workbook for figuring out what you really want. Beck challenges readers to acknowledge their true preferences as they work through several guided questionaires. The result? You’ll definitely know what you don’t want in your life, and you’ll have a clearer sense of the activities and kinds of people that warm your soul. For more on Beck’s North Star, read “An Exercise to Stop Worrying about what Other People Think.”
Read if you consider yourself a practical person who want to use more analytical ways to map out the future.
Do you have a favorite book for soul searching? Let us know in the comments below!
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Photos: Ermin Celikovac via Unsplash, Amazon